‘For Dubuffet [l’Hourloupe] is a “festival of the mind”, luminous, brilliant, sparkling, and continual. In it Dubuffet seeks an uninterrupted and uniform writing that brings everything to the frontal plane. It represents the wanderings of the thought processes, a mental and neuronal vision of the world, a vision of the real world that never stops questioning’
—V. DA COSTA AND F. HERGOTT
Inscribed with a personal dedication to Leslie Waddington, Jean Dubuffet’s Le Convoi (The Convoy) of 1972 is a collaged study for the large-scale practicable of the same name, executed in July that year. It was during the early 1970s that Dubuffet’s celebrated Hourloupe cycle – initiated almost a decade previously – reached its pinnacle. For the first time, the distinctive jigsaw-like arrangement of red, white and blue cells began to be conceived in three-dimensions, breeding a series of gigantic sculptures that brought the artist’s private universe to life. The following year, Dubuffet’s dream of a vast Hourloupe spectacle would culminate in the legendary performance piece Coucou Bazar, featuring actors and dancers dressed as living, breathing Hourloupe characters. The practicables – so named for their practical use-value – became pieces of stage scenery: free-standing props that formed a maze-like environment for the performers. Painted on Klégécell cut-outs, the large-scale incarnation of Le Convoi measured almost four metres in width and three in height, transforming the present study into an immense, sprawling landscape.